Monday, July 21, 2008

The Upright Walk

July 21: Hosea 8-14

1 When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
2 The more they were called,
the more they went away;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals
and burning offerings to idols.

3 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up by their arms,
but they did not know that I healed them.
4 I led them with cords of kindness,
with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.

5 They shall not return to the land of Egypt,
but Assyria shall be their king,
because they have refused to return to me.
6 The sword shall rage against their cities,
consume the bars of their gates,
and devour them because of their own counsels.
7 My people are bent on turning away from me,
and though they call out to the Most High,
he shall not raise them up at all.
Hosea 11:1-7

4 I will heal their apostasy;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel;
he shall blossom like the lily;
he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon;
6 his shoots shall spread out;
his beauty shall be like the olive,
and his fragrance like Lebanon.

9 Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
whoever is discerning, let him know them;
for the ways of the Lord are right,
and the upright walk in them,
but transgressors stumble in them.
Hosea 14:4-6 & 9

The Upright Walk

The picture that Hosea paints in chapter 11 is one with which we can easily identify. When Israel was yet but a child, God led them out of Egypt, taught them to walk, and led them with cords of kindness. As they continually rebelled against them, He continued to call them to repentance. But, now the time has come when He will call them no more.

Hosea, the last Israelite prophet before they were taken into exile, prophesies that God will not allow them to return to Egypt, but will rather give them into the hands of the Assyrians.

Is that the end of the story for Israel?

No, it is not! As we skip down to the last chapter of Hosea, we again see the great love that God has for His people.

I will heal their apostasy;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them
.

I will be like the dew to Israel;
he shall blossom like the lily;
he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon
.


What about Christians today who are not Jewish; what is our relationship to God? We are told in the Bible that gentile Christians have been grafted into the family of God; we are able to come in as adopted children of God. How amazing is that?

Just like as with Israel, God is long suffering, but we must take care not to allow His long suffering nature to overshadow us so that we become complacent in our Christian walk.

Hosea ends with a challenge to all of mankind.

Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
whoever is discerning, let him know them;
for the ways of the Lord are right,
and the upright walk in them,
but transgressors stumble in them
.


The upright walk, but the transgressors stumble! Which one are you?

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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